Does Cantabile support sustained sound transitions (aka SST/SSS)?

Lots of high end hardware supports the ability to sustain a previous sound (but not add new notes) after you’ve transitioned to another song or part - starting with Kronos’ “Smooth Sound” Transition, but now also on Montage as “Seamless Sound Switching” and on Fantom 08 as “Patch Remain.”

I just started evaluating software solutions to integrate VSTs and my hardware for live play, with Cantabile and Gig Performer as primary contenders, but the ability to make smooth transition on the fly (eg without a bunch of Ableton-style automation crossfades) is a must-have feature for me.

I’ve been referring to this table (which is admittedly published by Gig Performer) – but despite its authorship, it claims that both it and Cantabile support “patch persistence.” However, while I was able to get this working in Gig Performer trivially, I can’t figure out how to do so in Cantabile; sounds always cut out as soon as I transition.

Does this feature exist in Cantabile? If so, what’s it called and where’s the documentation for it?



In Cantabile you accomplish this by turning the route to the plugin or rack on or off. It works well but is not very obvious.

It would be nice to have it as an option on the rack or plugin, but Brad is a deep thinker and I assume that there is a reason it is not there.

Cheers John

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To add to what I posted above, I was describing how to work within a song. If you wish to persist your sound across songs, I am pretty sure that it is easy to do, but, one of the heavy hitters on this forum will have to point out what box to check.

FWIW, about 4 years ago, I evaluated Cantabile and Gig Performer. From what I see they are the only two professional VST Host products for Windows. I bought Cantabile and have been quite satisfied. I keep up with both sets of documentation and, despite the chart in Gig Performer, they are basically feature equivalent and will do most anything that you can dream up (read the Derek Cook guides). I follow both forums and participate lightly in this one. The Gig Performer forum seems to get a bit testy at times, while Brad at Cantabile is very laid back while at the same time very responsive. When a critical bug pops up, I have seen him post a fix in hours.

Good luck with your research, the people on this forum are always happy to help.


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Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an easy way to do this between songs in Cantabile. We’ve discussed it at length. It’s not an easy problem to solve, though I think there are ways to solve it. For example, when issuing a command to switch songs Cantabile could load all the plugins for the next song, but also keep all the plugins live from the old song for a user-determinable amount of time (e.g., 5 seconds) before killing them.

The current situation where all plugins are hard-killed when a song is switched causes noticeable issues in performance. If I want the change to be seamless I have to find a way to make the switch before the song actually ends, and that’s not always possible. For example, if there’s a big “trash can” ending on a song and all band members are loud I can switch songs and no one will notice… so I can fade in nicely to the next song and have no dead air.

Or if the next song is in the same key and my sounds aren’t tempo-dependent and the sounds for the next song are compatible with the current song I can switch during say, the last chorus or refrain and with all the other band members the kill/switch isn’t audible to the audience.

I hope something can be done in Cantabile to add this capability between songs as it would definitely help.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is an easy way to do this between songs in Cantabile.

Bummer – but thanks for the info!

It’s not an easy problem to solve, though I think there are ways to solve it. For example, when issuing a command to switch songs Cantabile could load all the plugins for the next song, but also keep all the plugins live from the old song for a user-determinable amount of time (e.g., 5 seconds) before killing them.

It’s rather surprising to here that implementation complexity is the biggest challenge (rather than say concerns about perf or resident memory). It seems like at some level – at the OS process level if all else fails ! – there should be some way to “double buffer” the whole system and keep the prior sound alive until all the midi notes have ended (or a third song is selected).

But anyway thanks for the details - I guess I’ll investigate some of the other software solutions that do support this feature. Much appreciated!


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If a plugin or rack could have the following feature:
Disable when all outputs drop below output threshold.

When you switch to a new state you turn that feature on for the rack/plugin you want to disable after it’s finished making sound.

Hi Tim and Welcome to the Forum, :slight_smile:

This subject has come up a lot of times and currently there is no SST or SSS on Cantabile songs but it does satisfy the patch persistence but not from song to song. It does support Song state to Song state transitions like this so some folks made their songs into song states. In other words the set list for a set is all loaded as one song and you switch between the song states for your changes. This does support SST or SSS style changes. I use this style but only where there are songs I want to join like in this request, the rest of the set list is Cantabile songs because there are definite endings and silence to change over in.


Cantabile doesn’t “keep things going” when switching between songs, but I use a work around when I need this between songs, because it doe sustain notes between states within a song. All I do is combine the two songs together, so you have the states for each song all in a single song, and simply keep stepping through the states. It works a treat for me, but it can involve a load of extra programming, but it is well worth it.


The problem with sustaining sound across songs is that this requires two song setups to be active at the same time (for a certain period of overlap) - one for the old, one for the new song. This can create problems along various fronts:

  • it will require the processing power to run both song setups at the same time - might be too much load for complex setups
  • the process of loading and un-loading a song while another is busy playing puts additional strain on a system, which could lead to glitches
  • the old and the new song could contain common shared racks, but in different rack states, which creates conflicts. Essentially this would mean that shared racks would need to be loaded twice to enable this seamless “overlap”. Kind of defeats the idea of preloaded shared racks…
  • once you get more sophisticated with bindings that fire on song load and song unload, overlapping two songs could have all sorts of nasty implications with the sequence of bindings firing.

I feel that addressing this may be quite a challenge - this is the downside of the super-powerful and flexible architecture of Cantabile. This is a functionality that would be easier to realize in a more simplified, more constrained architecture.

So I wouldn’t hold my breath for this to be implemented anytime soon - we’ll have to work around this somehow…

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I do this all the time with Cantabile (most of my “songs” are actually sets of up to 16 songs, each of which overlaps the next), and I find that Cantabile is excellent at this as long as you do what @Sausagefingers describes:

  • Each of my “songs” is actually a linked rack in Cantabile.
  • A “set” is actually a song in Cantabile, with one song state for each song in the set.
  • Each song state has the MIDI route to the relevant song rack enabled, and all the other routes disabled (except that I have always-enabled routes for foot pedals to all the song-racks, so that foot pedal events are never blocked).
  • Switching song-states changes songs. This works perfectly because Cantabile still sends note-off events along disabled MIDI routes; it only blocks new note-on events to disabled MIDI routes. So I can sustain the chord of the previous song with my fingers or with the foot pedal, switch to the new song, start playing, and everything works just as it should.
  • If computing resources are a problem, I disable all racks except the ones for the current and previous songs in each song-state. I can even create a delayed binding that disables the previous rack after a set length of time if necessary, so that only one rack is enabled most of the time.
  • I only need to create this special song once. New song sets can then be implemented by just replacing the racks in the song to quickly create a new song-set.

Once upon a time I trialed Gig Performer vs. Cantabile and concluded that Cantabile is vastly superior in terms of power for this. Gig Performer seems easier and mostly equivalent until you dig into it and discover that it has far fewer options relative to Cantabile when you get down into the details. This makes Cantabile a little harder to learn, but once learned it offers far more power.

Thanks for the suggestions @Hamlen – I can see how this would be actionable for many users with simpler needs. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll work for me. Within a single song, I typically use at least 4 separate parts/voices/timbres, and more often 8 or more* - which I am constantly muting/unmuting manually as I transition between song part.

Best case, it sounds like I could only manage two or three “songs” within a Cantabile song, at the cost of a lot of manual programming and limiting my max # of sounds a fair bit (particularly if I also want a separate effect chain per song). Presumably, all these constituent sounds also have to be fully resident in order to allow this, which seems like it’d impose pretty steep overhead.

I sincerely do appreciate all the suggestions, folks! But it is a bit amusing how you all keep saying "yeah, that super useful thing everyone else is doing? It’s not possible because of how powerful and flexible Cantabile is " =D

  • This probably seems like a lot to most folks, but my standard setup is a master Kronos with midi bass pedals for pads, and and a secondary keyboard that routes both its onboard audio and midi signal to the kronos, where I can apply up to 16 onboard timbres per song plus up to 8 sounds from my laptop running an Omnisphere multi.

Well, this is a bit provocative, don’t you think? I am sure you are aware of the existence of trade-offs, in software like in everything else. You wouldn’t disparage a Ferrari because you can’t plow a field with it, though of course it would be very useful if it could do it. :grin:

Your “typical” use seems not so impressive to me, with respect to Cantabile capabilities. As always, anyone must use what suits best his needs…so if Gig Performer is the one, definetely go for it.



In the setup I described, my typical songs each have about 8-32 parts/voices/timbres spread across around 4 instances of Omnisphere and Kontakt per song, which I’m muting/unmuting manually as the song progresses. When I tried this on Gig Performer, it could not keep up; but Cantabile seemed to be more performant, which is why I stuck with it. Just my experience.

Cantabile is more than capable of what you are doing, but it would be good to know which version you are using. The thing to consider is your laptop/pc capability. I started out on my Cantabile journey with an i5 1.0 GHz processor and 8Gbit of RAM with a Yamaha MX61 keyboard as controller. I managed up to 16 vsts, all pre-loaded and running virtually without problem. A couple of times I had to swap a vst or two for ones which were less power hungry, and this did increase as I made more and more demands on my kit.

I now have an i7 2.8GHz processor with 16GBit of RAM and have had no problems whatsoever, running up to 18 vsts, and I haven’t had to worry about processor or RAM overload.

If you follow the route of Songs and States you should be able to incorporate all your changes and mutings, although a footpedal to change from one state to another - I use a Behringer FCB1010, for instance - is more than useful. And although I don’t have the problem now, I have in the past made a state at the end of a song which closes down all the vsts in that song, thus reducing the number of vsts running in the background, and this too will help.

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It’s also a question of where you need smooth sound transitions.

TBH I have only ever needed it in songs between parts, not across songs.

But in that I include albums like Dark Side of the Moon where in the Floyd band I was in, we played side one first and then side two from start to finish with no interruption, but in that case, whilst we split side one up to give the guitar player a chance to get ready for slide on “Great Gig”, I treated side two as one continuous song with parts in it. Cantabile works a treat in that context.

So it really depends on what you want to do and how you set things up, and TBH even hardware units with SST usually have limitations that you need to plan for,

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I use Gig Performer on Mac (no good alternatives, Mainstage sucks). It’s light years behind Cantabile.